1. The thief gained the faith which gained him,16 and brought him up and placed him in paradise. He saw in the Cross a tree of life; that was the fruit, he was the eater in Adam's stead.
The fool, who goes astray, grazes the faith, as it were an eye,17 by all manner of questions. The probing of the finger blinds the eye, and much more doth that prying blind. the faith.
For even the diver pries not into his pearl. In it do all merchants rejoice without prying into whence it came; even the king who is crowned therewith does not explore it.
2. Because Balaam was foolish, a foolish beast in the ass spoke with him, because he despised God Who spoke with him. Thee too let the pearl reprove in the ass's stead.
The people that had a heart of stone, by a Stone He set at nought,18 for lo, a stone hears words. Witness its work that has reproved them; and you, ye deaf ones, let the pearl reprove today.
With the swallow19 and the crow did He put men to shame; with the ox, yea with the ass,20 did He put them to shame; let the pearl reprove now, O ye birds and things on earth and things below.
3. Not as the moon does thy light fill or wane; the Sun whose light is greater than all, lo! of Him it is that a type is shadowed out in thy little compass. O type of the Son, one spark of Whom is greater than the sun!-
The pearl itself is full, for its light is full; neither is there any cunning worker who can steal from it; for its wall is its own beauty, yea, its guard also! It lacks not, since it is entirely perfect.
And if a man would break thee to take a part from thee, thou art like the faith which with the heretics perishes, seeing they have broken it in pieces and spoiled it: for is it any better than this to have the faith scrutinised?The faith is an entire nature that may not be corrupted. The spoiler gets himself mischief by it: the heretic brings ruin on himself thereby. He that chases the light from his pupils blinds himself.
Fire and air are divided when sundered. Light alone, of all creatures, as its Creator, is not divided; it is not barren, for that it also begets without losing thereby.
4. And if a man thinks that thou art framed [by art] he errs greatly; thy nature proclaims that thou, as all stones, art not the framing of art; and so thou art a type of the Generation which no making framed.
Thy stone flees from a comparison with the Stone [which is] the Son. For thy own generation is from the midst of the deep, that of the Son of thy Creator is from the highest height; He is not like thee, in that He is like His Father.
And as they tell, two wombs bare thee also. Thou camest down from on high a fluid nature; thou camest up from the sea a solid body. By means of thy second birth thou didst show thy loveliness to the children of men.
Hands fixed thee, when thou wast embodied, into thy receptacles; for thou art in the crown as upon a cross, and in a coronet as in a victory; thou art upon the ears, as if to fill up what was lacking; thou extendest over all.
1. O gift that camest up without price21 with the diver! Thou laidest hold upon this visible light, that without price rises for the children of men: a parable of the hidden One that without price gives the hidden Dayspring!
And the painter too paints a likeness of thee with colours. Yet by thee is faith painted in types and emblems for colours, and in the place of the image by thee and thy colours is thy Creator painted.
O thou frankincense without smell, who breathest types from out of thee! thou art not to be eaten, yet thou givest a sweet smell unto them that hear thee! thou art not to be drunk, yet by thy story, a fountain of types art thou made unto the ears!
2. It is thou which art great in thy littleness, O pearl! Small is thy measure and little thy compass with thy weight; but great is thy glory: to that crown alone in which thou art placed, there is none like.
And who hath not perceived of thy littleness, how great it is; if one despises thee and throws thee away, he would blame himself for his clownishness, for when he saw thee in a king's crown he would be attracted to thee.
3. Men stripped their clothes off and dived and drew thee out, pearl! It was not kings that put thee before men, but those naked ones who were a type of the poor and the fishers and the Galileans.
For clothed bodies were not able to come to thee; they came that were stript as children; they plunged their bodies and came down to thee; and thou didst much desire them, and thou didst aid them who thus loved thee.
Glad tidings did they give for thee: their tongues before their bosoms did the poor [fishers] open, and produced and showed the new riches among the merchants: upon the wrists of men they put thee as a medicine of life.
4. The naked ones in a type saw thy rising again by the sea-shore; and by the side of the lake they, the Apostles22 of a truth, saw the rising again of the Son of thy Creator. By thee and by thy Lord the sea and the lake were beautified.
The diver came up from the sea and put on his clothing; and from the lake too Simon Peter came up swimming and put on his coat;23 clad as with coats, with the love of both of you, were these two.
5. And since I have wandered in thee, pearl, I will gather up my mind, and by having contemplated thee, would become like thee, in that thou art all gathered up into thyself; and as thou in all times art one, one let me become by thee!
Pearls have I gathered together that I might make a crown for the Son in the place of stains which are in my members. Receive my offering, not that Thou art shortcoming; it is because of mine own shortcoming that I have offered it to Thee. Whiten my stains!
This crown is all spiritual pearls, which instead of gold are set in love, and instead of ouches in faith; and instead of hands, let praise offer it up to the Highest!
1. Would that the memory of the fathers would exhale from the tombs; who were very simple as being wise, and reverend as believing. They without cavilling searched for, and came to the right path.
He gave the law; the mountains melted away; fools broke through it. By unclean ravens He fed Elijah at the desert stream; and moreover gave from the skeleton honey unto Samson. They judged not, nor inquired why it was unclean, why clean.
2. And when He made void the sabbaths, the feeble Gentiles were clothed with health. Samson took the daughter of the aliens, and there was no disputing among the righteous; the prophet also took a harlot, and the just held their peace.
He blamed the righteous,24 and He held up and lifted up [to view] their delinquencies: He pitied sinners,25 and restored them without cost: and made low the mountains of their sins:26 He proved that God is not to be arraigned by men, and as Lord of Truth. that His servants were His shadow; and whatsoever way His will looked, they directed also their own wills; and because Light was in Him,27their shadows were enlightened.
3. How strangely perplexed are all the heretics by simple things! For when He plainly foreshadowed this New Testament by that of the Prophets, those pitiable men rose, as though from sleep, and shouted out and made a disturbance. And the Way, wherein the righteous held straight on, and by their truths had gone forth therein, that [Way] have these broken28 up, because they were besotted: this they left and went out of; because they pried, an evil searching, [yea,] an evil babbling led them astray.
They saw the ray: they made it darkness, that they might grope therein: they saw the jewel, even the faith: while they pried into it, it fell and was lost. Of the pearl they made a stone, that they might stumble upon it.
4. O Gift, which fools have made a poison! The People were for separating Thy beauteous root from Thy fountain, though they separated it not: [false] teachings estranged Thy beauty also from the stock thereof.
By Thee did they get themselves estranged, who wished to estrange Thee. By Thee the tribes were cut off and scattered abroad from out of Sion, and also the [false] teachings of the seceders.
Bring Thyself within the compass of our littleness, O Thou Gift of ours. For if love cannot find Thee out on all sides, it cannot be still and at rest. Make Thyself small, Thou Who art too great for all, Who comest unto all!
5. By this would those who wrangle against our Pearl be reproved; because instead of love, strife has come in and dared to essay to unveil thy beauty. It was not graven, since it is a progeny which cannot be interpreted.
Thou didst show thy beauty among the abjects to show whereto thou art like, thou Pearl that art all faces. The beholders were astonied and perplexed at thee. The separatists separated thee in two, and were separated in two by thee, thou that art of one substance throughout.
They saw not thy beauty, because there was not in them the eye of truth. For the veil of prophecy, full as it was of the mysteries; to them was a covering of thy glistering faces: they thought that thou wast other [than thou art], O thou mirror of ours! and therefore these blind schismatics defiled thy fair beauty.
6. Since they have extolled thee too much, or have lowered thee too much, bring them to the even level. Come down, descend a little from that height of infidelity and heathendom; and come up from the depth of Judaism, though thou art in the Heaven.
Let our Lord be set between God and men!29 Let the Prophets be as it were His heralds! Let the Just One, as being His Father, rejoice! that Word it is which conquered both Jews and Heathens!
7. Come, Thou Gift of Holy Church, stay, rest in the midst of Her! The circumcised have troubled Thee, in that they are vain babblers, and so have the [false] doctrines in that they are contentious. Blessed be He that gave Thee a goodly company which bears Thee about!
In the covenant of Moses is Thy brightness shadowed forth: in the new covenant Thou dartest it forth: from those first Thy light shineth even unto those last. Blessed be He that gave us Thy gleam as well as Thy bright rays.
1. As in a race saw I the disputers, the children of strife, [trying] to taste fire, to see the air, to handle the light: they were troubled at the gleaming, and struggled to make divisions.
The Son, Who is too subtle for the mind, did they seek to feel: and the Holy Ghost Who cannot be explored, they thought to explore with their questionings. The Father, Who never at any time was searched out, have they explained and disputed of.
The sound form of our faith is from Abraham, and our repentance is from Nineveh and the house of Rahab,30 and ours are the expectations of the Prophets,31 ours of the Apostles.
2. And envy is from Satan: the evil usage of the evil calf is from the Egyptians.32 The hateful sight of the hateful image of four faces is from the Hittites.33 Accursed disputation, that hidden moth, is from the Greeks.
The bitter [enemy] read and saw orthodox teachings, and subverted them; he saw hateful things, and sowed them; and he saw hope, and he turned it upside down and cut it off. The disputation that he planted, lo! it has yielded a fruit bitter to the tooth.3. Satan saw that the Truth strangled him, and united himself to the tares, and secreted his frauds, and spread his snares for the faith, and cast upon the priests the darts of the love of pre-eminence.
They made contests for the throne, to see which should first obtain it. There was that meditated in secret and kept it close: there was that openly combated for it: and there was that with a bribe crept up to it: and there was that with fraud dealt wisely to obtain it.
The paths differed, the scope was one, and they were alike. Him that was young, and could not even think of it, because it was not time for him; and him that was hoary and shaped out dreams for time beyond; all of them by his craftiness did the wicked one persuade and subdue. Old men, youths, and even striplings, aim at rank!
4. His former books did Satan put aside, and put on others: the People who was grown old had the moth and the worm devoured and eaten and left and deserted: the moth came into the new garment of the new peoples:
He saw the crucifiers who were rejected and cast forth as strangers: he made of those of the household, pryers; and of worshippers, they became disputants. From that garment the moth gendered and wound it up and deposited it.
The worm gendered in the storehouse of wheat, and sat and looked on: and lo! the pure wheat was mildewed, and devoured were the garments of glory! He made a mockery of us, and we of ourselves, since we were besotted!
He showed tares, and the bramble shot up in the pure vineyard! He infected the flock, and the leprosy broke out, and the sheep became hired servants of his! He began in the People, and came unto the Gentiles, that he might finish.
5. Instead of the reed which the former people made the Son hold, others have dared with their reed34 to write in their tracts that He is only a Son of man. Reed for reed does the wicked one exchange against our Redeemer, and instead of the coat of many colours,35 wherewith they clothed Him, titles has he dyed craftily. With diversity of names he clothed Him; either that of a creature or of a thing made, when He was the Maker.
And as he plaited for Him by silent men speechless thorns that cry out, thorns from the mind has he plaited [now] by the voice, as hymns; and concealed the spikes amid melodies that they might not be perceived.36
6. When Satan saw that he was detected in his former [frauds]; that the spitting was discovered, and vinegar, and thorns, nails and wood, garments and reed and spear, which smote him, and were hated and openly known; he changed his frauds.
Instead of the blow with the hand, by which our Lord was overcome, he brought in distractions; and instead of the spitting, cavilling entered in; and instead of garments, secret divisions; and instead of the reed, came in strife to smite us on the face.
Haughtiness called for rage its sister, and there answered and came envy, and wrath, and pride, and fraud. They have taken counsel against our Redeemer as on that day when they took counsels at His Passion.
And instead of the cross, a hidden wood hath strife become; and instead of the nails, questionings have come in; and instead of hell, apostasy: the pattern of both Satan would renew again.Instead of the sponge which was cankered with vinegar and wormwood, he gave prying, the whole of which is cankered with death. The gall which they gave Him did our Lord put away from Him; the subtle questioning, which the rebellious one hath given, to fools is sweet.
7. And at that time there were judges against them,37 lo, the judges are, as it were, against us, and instead of a handwriting are their commands. Priests that consecrate crowns, set snares for kings.
Instead of the priesthood praying for royalty that wars may cease from among men, they teach wars of overthrow, which set kings to combat with those round about.
O Lord, make the priests and kings peaceful; that in one Church priests may pray for their kings, and kings spare those round about them; and may the peace which is within Thee become ours, Lord, Thou that art within and without all thing!38